Acquisitions Librarians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

To prepare for this career, take college preparatory classes in business, science, English, mathematics, and foreign language. And take as many computer classes as you can. Because technology has greatly changed the way we receive and store information, those familiar with computers and related technology will have the greatest professional success. Classes in accounting will help prepare you for the challenges of managing an acquisitions budget.

Postsecondary Training

Most acquisitions librarian positions require a master's degree in library science (M.L.S.), a master's degree in library and information science (M.L.I.S.), or a master of science (M.S.) in information science degree. A graduate degree from a program accredited by the ALA is highly regarded by employers. Some schools offer a program that combines a bachelor's degree in arts or science with M.L.S. course work and an internship. Visit the ALA's Web site (http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/accreditedprograms/directory) for a list of accredited schools nationwide, as well as distance learning opportunities, scholarships, and financial aid.

Many acquisitions librarians, especially at larger universities and research libraries, may hold an additional master's degree or Ph.D. in the subject area in which they work.

Other Education or Training

Many librarians rely on annual conferences and continuing education classes to advance their knowledge. The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, for example, offers a variety of online courses, including one on acquisition fundamentals. Topics include methods and basic functions of acquisitions, ethics, and creating and following a budget. It also offers seminars and workshops at its annual conference. Recent topics included Fundamentals of Cataloging, Fundamentals of Electronic Resources Acquisition, and Fundamentals of Collection Assessment.

Other organizations that provide continuing education opportunities include the American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, Association for Information Science and Technology, Medical Library Association, Music Library Association, Special Libraries Association, and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

To date, there are no certification or licensing requirements for this library specialty.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Experience as a volunteer or in a part-time job in a library will be helpful for aspiring acquisitions librarians. Acquisitions librarians should first and foremost have a love of information, as they are constantly in search of ways to improve their library's collection and provide its patrons with useful resources. They should also have strong computer skills, be good at solving problems, and have business acumen to negotiate contracts and licenses for certain materials, such as e-subscriptions. Acquisitions librarians need strong communication skills since they work closely with library patrons, vendors, the library director, and other library professionals.